Part B

  1. People who aren’t from here have weird fantasies about the mountain. They say things like: The mountain either accepts you or rejects you. Generally, these people live closest to the mountain because they can afford the higher-priced real estate. Conversations between real estate whores and Buddhist scammers cut and bleed ulcers through this town. No one on the westside can afford triage anymore. Their money has dammed things, but rivers find ways to make it down the mountain, away from here. I’d like to leave again, someday. It was a different mountain and a different river back then. Upon my departure I will say, I reject your mountain. I wish I had time to believe in past lives, but I have a hard enough time believing in this one. Evaporate, condense, return to the sky. I can still see my mother floating in pink and orange technicolor, her different shapes and shadows play against the mountain’s jagged face.

  2. Your, I don’t see color BS, is screwing with your fake attempts at inclusion. How can you see color when you can’t see the mountain?

  3. a) She said to me, There aren’t many of your people left here. And I said, There are, but I guess that depends on who you hang out with. People are easily offended. Just ask me. Sometimes I think it’s the only reason I stay. b) This used to be an undesirable neighborhood down a bad dirt road with a triple-murder next-door, DV ending in baby’s death, suicide, overdose, other dead bodies, more than that. c) The property value keeps going up. d) There were a bunch of robberies last year. The new neighbor knocked on my door, showed me a photo of my cousin and said, We think it might be him. e) I’m old enough to remember when you never heard English spoken here. f) The only time our people share dances anymore is inside the cantina back by the pool tables. g) The G-word. h) When Winona La Duke was running for vice president, she came and gave a speech up on the mountain. She said, Where are all the Native people? i) When fake conservationists pay you to come speak. j) Tom Ford paid David to dress up like a cowboy and serve him. k) When super-rich people pay you to serve them, remember you can easily put laxatives in their smoothie. l) The Southwest meets Disneyland m) LA transplants dress weird. n) They found the man’s body, but they never found his head. o) The ghost of his wife still walks there. p) People come here to experience the culture. q) People come here to jump off the bridge. r) People come here for the majestic landscapes. s) People come here to shit on the mountain. t) Rivers find ways to make it down the mountain, away from here. u) Don’t drink the water. v) w) x) y) z)

  4. You could have been anything; the town drunk, an astronaut, a coyote. You’ve been all of those things.

  5. Every time I go to the plaza, I narrowly escape the slow-moving herd of sun-bleached gazelles all dressed exactly like Georgia O’Keeffe. They glide toward me like rustic supermodels, moving slowly and with intention. They speak in hushed, minimalist tones about Burning Man, art, and yoga. Their speech is contemplative, skeletal in nature, having had all the meat sucked off its bones. Their abbreviated communication mainly references form not content, things like style and texture, interspersed with words like abstract and conceptual, and substituting words like appropriation for other words like appropriation…all moving as one organism. The sounds they make are as stark and white as the skulls they admire in their favorite paintings. I try to squeeze past them, hoping they won’t notice, at which point all ten of their eyeballs move in unison toward me. They look at me like I’m a foreigner, and in that very moment I have the gut-wrenching realization that I am.

  6. The only way I can keep living here is if I live inside my head.
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Karen Vargas

Karen Vargas is a native of northern New Mexico. Her poetry and short stories have been published in Borderlore, Epoch, Catamaran, Drinking from the Stream, La Palabra: The Word Is A Woman series, and others. She is the recipient of a Taos Resident Writers Award and a Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation Residency.